tv Book Discussion CSPAN March 1, 2014 9:00pm-10:01pm EST
that makes this author happier. tonight i will talk about operation paper clip in till you what the program was and about how i became interested in writing and researching and reporting "operation paperclip" then i will end by telling you interesting ways the story is reported. to start, my book "operation paperclip" komen these gentlemen are 21 of 1600 german scientist who came to america from arms the intelligence agencies. i found them to find it nefarious.
it is important to realize whenever you are reporting a story like this like riding on the heels of the important journalists and historians who have come before. academics also have been involved to on earth this story but there is a light cast on "operation paperclip" that had not been shown before. this story began when i was reporting on area 51. over these knots the aircraft designers. they were working on this aircraft that looks like the b-2 bomber. said you can see hitler's weapon was very interesting to the allies during the war
and immediately after. when i was researching the fortune brothers we had a ball. there he is. but in which weighed vases this guy. colonel siegfried he was one of the rights top-10 pilots in flew over norway to figure out the best places to bomb. siegfried was the incredibly talented engineer. he caught the attention of his boss to become the head of all technological environment. he was so important he called him my boy.
he came to the united states and worked under this program that at the time i did not know was called "operation paperclip." how did this work? have you go to having the pentagon as a boss? and when he retired in the '70s he was given the distinguished civilian service award which is the highest award that the department of defense can give to a non uniformed person. to understand "operation paperclip" you really must go back to the fall of 1944. that was a very dark time. this was a rise and fall of the third reich.
landing at normandy pushing to munich and berlin. among the soldiers are scientist with the u.s. military. they are part of a secret mission to find what they call atomic biological chemical weapons. abc weapons. the real threat but city will who was the head of the operation was a particle physicist learn to sitting in the abandoned apartment in november 1944 that the atomic program telling him his minister of armaments atomic science is jewish
science. said don't concentrate on that. i am paraphrasing. >> in what they learned was that the third reich was experimenting and humans. said he was pulled from concentration camps. this is the first time to american military intelligence. >> and he came across in a letter director of the third reich is very difficult to imagine that later he became part of "operation paperclip" but certainly at the time to find out this information to right in his
memoirs he could not believe that. also the documents that he came across is the surgeon general of the third reich that later became part of a paper clip and wind up living in texas. so while heading of the biological weapon division, as the right was trying to create the bubonic plague. but at the same time but worth day to unleash the forces subjects to this agent is difficult without a vaccine. and to do that working with the concentration camp.
so i just want you to remember him. he comes up later and of course, it goring ahead of all science under the third reich umbrella program and did the research council. the third part of this triangle the place into "operation paperclip" is heinrich himmler but he is also in charge of this network that has been reinstituted and the slaves are used to build weapons. at the same time it becomes apparent that the third reich is crumbling.
fezzes is as future growth of money found in a cave but also across the third reich military intelligence begin stashing weaponry and documents related to how the weapons are built. suddenly there on the move looking for weapons and documents and scientists. that little tunnel is an example of the slave labor facilities that himmler was organizing and shipping off to the scientific departments. this is an nordhausen this is for the b-2 rockets are being built and on the bottom here it is inside
that cave entire trains could go in and as i write now headed to may 1945 that castle grande berg the military is in charge of this castle nicknamed dustbin they begin to be interrogated. when i went to germany i was fascinated reading these original transcripts that are 70 page documents that show in a very subtle way how this program began with the military intelligence
officers learning about the hitler nerve agent program we did not know about about his biological weapons program that we did not know about. interviewing a scientist trying to find out all that we can but also seeing decisions being made. should the scientist be hanged or hired? this is castle kranberg the scientist for all walking around. you had spiffier walking around, hitler is positioned hot some scientist would give lectures all the while coving in and out of the room to be interrogated by the different military officers. underneath the castle. this is one of goring
headquarters now we are in charge. under the castle was this bunker where hitler planned to go with his inner circle in the event they decided to use their agent which is an important role of operation paper clip. and why that nerve agent was never used was one of the great mysteries of love for. allied intelligence discovered giant bunkers filled with bombs ready to be lifted up onto planes but hitler never gave the order but this bunker was designed in the event he did give the order this is where they would hang out. and it was a great mysterious irony that this is where there we're held. these are some of the guys
in n. castle can -- castle kranberg. meanwhile you have something else going on at nordhausen these officers are realizing the incredible bread and scope of the rockets that were there. they had orders to gather 100 of the rockets to bring them back to the united states to be launched in new mexico. but coming across not only a the rocket world but the scientist. actually he was not captured he surrendered. he knew he would be helpful to allied intelligence also who else was left out was general durenberger he liked
that coat because of your war the same coach he was then brown's ross he recruited for the pentagon looking for more german scientist it was a favorite in the washington inner circle. when i started reporting the program one of the all the photographs i could find of the rocket scientist. in very few have an idea just how quickly we brought the rockets and the scientists. just a couple of years after that is the actual deed to rocket firing albert the first monkey astronauts. he did not survive. back to the chemical weapons
that sarin gas this is dr. ambrose and if i would have to say one of the more nefarious elements of "operation paperclip." i will not tell you the narrative's but one briefly why i think his story is so terrific is ambrose's was hitler's favorite chemist literally. he invited the sarin gas but also synthetic rubber bridge was extremely important because the tanks need tread aircraft need wheels and the synthetic rubber was so important to hitler he awarded ambrose's 1 million bright mark bonus that had never been written about before that is how important ambros was.
and building synthetic rubber at auschwitz. this is the photo from 1944 you have auschwitz and the gas chamber in addendum over quarter you have the slave labor facility that also produced cyclone me and although ambros's -- ambros was in charge of that facility. while researching the book we know those horrific photographs but nothing disturbed me more than this photograph because of what it says. company sporting club auschwitz. those are two colleagues fencing as they would in the
evening after a long day of what they thought was hard work in the laboratory at auschwitz. but as i learned and i was given permission to republish, this was well within the view of the chimney of auschwitz. so he is captured and cooperates with intelligence the first high-ranking member of the inner circle that speaks up of the atrocities in mass sterilization and gassing of jews in becomes the key player because he is the first person who cooperated. at the same time, colonel harry armstrong who is a top position for the army air
force and he was on a mission in berlin looking for not see doctors. he called them german physicians and for many years the idea was favorite german physicians but really i and others before me had put together a very clear picture of what most of these men were doing. you can see the photograph never printed before. 34 of the top the team physicians one of the very first programs of "operation paperclip" inside germany and heidelberg starting days after the war. >> that would never fly.
later 34-point joining harry armstrong at a facility in texas. we will get more to him in a moment. but of all those doctors working at heidelberg under armstrong military intelligence came knocking and they had information that they were wanted for war crimes. so they went off to nuremberg and they've would become part of "operation paperclip." this is one of the doctors taken away to nuremberg but when i was startled if i was when i read about benzinger
his obituary published in 1989 it clouded his career with age -- naval intelligence. it talked about how he invented that year thermometer and what great contributions he gave to military medicine but it never mentioned his wartime work. but i found in berlin were documents that dr. benzinger was on the original list of criminals tried at the doctor's trial at nuremberg but he was mysteriously released a few weeks before the trial and turned over to the custody of the u.s. army air force and brought to america. that is the not see dr. trial and was acquitted.
>> i write about him and ellington the book one of the only surviving witnesses to what went on into a concentration camp amazing story it is amazing how these little buckets are lost. when i was reading the try transcript i discovered when he was put on the witness stand because the doctor removed a piece of his liver without anesthesia attitude dissect how long someone could survive in the ocean and how much seawater you could drink so they would simulate the test written by the other doctors who would come to texas. but he was so angry he headed dagger handed in his pocket and he jumped off the witness stand and tried to stab the doctor.
this incredible moment i could not believe i had never heard of this before. the great tragedy the american judge who believed firmly reread nuremberg to show how democracy works put him in the prison with the very doctors who had done this to him. the doctor that was the father of state medicine there he is with the library named after him that was ultimately taken down. the program went all the way up to the pentagon. when i would read over the documents it is fascinating you could see the military generals were pained to
bring these individuals here to work on the weapons program. but it is shocking that some did not feel that way at all but respected and admired some of the nazi scientist. in general was in charge of the chemical board. it is important to have the documents to back this up it is still largely classified but i traveled to the u.s. army in pennsylvania to look at his papers and there that i found the personal diaries that he wrote that told much of the story the report. there you see him at a party
and in those papers that i discovered the ss for day fuehrer never known to be part of "operation paperclip" but he was. he was so close to himmler he was on his personal staff. you can see that little button is the golden party badge given out by hitler to the closest entourage. he was a chemist and he became very friendly with the general and the two men exchanged christmas cards for many years that is also in the military museum in pennsylvania. >> just to give you an idea how close that the archives does not let one of the french but i am happy to show them here but there he
is shaking hands with hitler. that is from the general's diary in i will end here with so little bit about reporting of what is interesting. about bringing new information to the table so much has been gradually written about the bread you come across something like these diaries is incredible. i really do believe more is revealed and curiosity helps a journalist. if you are willing to keep looking you will find. these are the journal's and there is this incredibly classified program it is still classified but general luke's, that human and all of us that wants to right in our journal, attended
conference over classified matters. from this information and it is from this information to put together the most in for a rate -- and foreign part of the liberation you can go to the powers that be to kick in the door and discover the documents with freedom of information act request based on facts that are known and dates in the "journal." so i could locate this document that is the highest ranking war criminals that was with hitler's in your agent program to see a general -- dr. louks would
have a roundtable discussion to learn the secrets of the tear gas program brought back to america to allow united states to build up the sarin gas program. if anyone was reading about serious chemical weapon programs to day the bonds that are dismantled now are serin gas weapons is a long list -- legacy. i was also able to work with children of hitler's inner circle to interview in berlin. very brave individuals as they are getting older '70s and '80s, some of them were remarkably transparent and shared their parents personal papers. that allowed me to bring some interesting things to the table i don't think has been reported before and photographs.
by 1952 he was working for the cia. some of the war criminals were sent to prison, those were the unmarked graves. they were able to pray in the love the church but ultimately the cold war was getting hot in john mccloy's year with truman became high commissioner of germany and he gave clemency to the majority of of work and they were released from prison. and this is otto ambros at nuremberg the chemist with the 1 million bonus. he was convicted of mass
murder maybe he had some foresight that point day he would soon be released but his finances were fully restored. this is so world the cia first right after the war actually 1947 to team up with naval intelligence at this place and used chemistry developed by the nazis with enhanced interrogation techniques on lsd prisoners because this was the cold war. the two physicians men other than dr. shriver, the reason he got the job that shriver
was sent to texas and it's a long and tangled tale that you can read in the book but it is astonishing that shriver the former surgeon general of the third reich was living in texas. but the cold war was heating up and this was a threat that the soviets who by the way had their own program of german scientist had a lot of rocket scientists but unlike our program to put them up on pedestals with great regard this soviets with lowe's the germans so they briquette data second-tier. they were squeezed of the
information and sent back to germany at which point the cia craft of the german scientists to learn what they could about the soviet missile program. but it was nothing because they did not share that top tier of information. we would move for word with that eightball and this is where we tested the bubonic plague weapon. bikeways -- likewise our serin gas weapon and brown became the head with jfk. arthur rudolph i rise at length about his story of operation paper clip is remarkable to run the slave
labor tunnel to be the other one of the very few paper clips that was investigated id in the '80s the department of justice got information he could see the complicity with the gave him as the nation this is in the mid-80s where he could return to germany. he chose to return to germany. and most peculiar just those two things scar's make him look slightly sinister but they've recharge him as the american hero. i found out it is story researching one of the myth
is at the germans were just trying to do science skirting around the of the big bad wolf he will find reading closely about debus he turned his superior over to news that the shot bow for making anti-hit their remarks. but that remarkable flesh and pull you could see one part of our intelligence saying we cannot bring this guide to the united states. he was and nazi turning a colleague over to the gestapo. this is a malicious act but then to say we need him. there he is as the first
director of the jfk center and every year still they give out the debus award when i interviewed the head of the club what do you say one someone asks you what about debus if? he wore the ss uniform to work and turned over a colleague to the gestapo what do you say? the answer was no one has ever asked me that question before. so i would like to end with the adl einstein had it right in my opinion. he left germany prior to hitler's debt -- are imminent build up and he always maintains because he would not work for a rock and rapid militia. there he gets his
citizenship and one of the few people with power that petitioned truman not to have "operation paperclip" have been but to no avail. my last thought is this which is written over that gate, an older german proverb that says everyone gets what they deserve. when i was reporting and writing the book, i would often ask myself does everyone really get what they deserve? and if you choose to read "operation paperclip" i hope you come to your own conclusion. thank you very much. [applause] i have time for some questions.
>> beyond lsd did you come across these techniques used ? to define that coming out of research. >> i don't know about splitting personalities but that photograph that is where the program began with to operational code names one was operation bluebird wind was artichoke and they began that scenario. that we also rightabout in the book. >> why was the nerve gas never used? based on any of the passports? >> the first part is why
chemical weapons were not used? the prevailing theory is that when hitler was a soldier of world war i he missed the end of the war because he pluses gassed with mustard gas so allegedly he had a deep aversion to chemical weapons but the nazis produced hundreds of thousands of tons of nerve agent. there were so many individuals under his command it is nothing short of a miracle it was not used the second question? spin if there is no need to do that because the not the
scientists that came to america over given of the sun and later became u.s. citizens. >> i am slightly nauseous but also i cannot wait to get my hands of the book. when we left but also of the cia's the agent to identify the nazis. but my question is we left munich in the 1950's my father and stepfather had gone back and forth to
geneva. and there are questions that i have. we left germany in 1951 he did not take any of the author lists -- offers but to move to damascus instead for i have never quite understood. i was only 10 years old with non german passports. every time the conductors would check with others said don't talk. the question always has been there is so much that i don't know you live with it
my father came to america with us when there was a coup in he ended up working for lockheed as the missile test program. it was that instrumental. >> it is so fascinating read you could stay after words and talk with me. did you have a question? >> as a german scientist how did day or five did they use arabic passports? >> cutoff to be after words the middle eastern connection is interesting but it is not part of "operation paperclip" but we can chat after. think you very much.
>> with plum island new york with lyme disease. >> general louks he became friendly with the chemist was in charge of setting up plum island. and eric was is in charge and also connected with plum i when he came to the united states does the department of agriculture and there is a lot of suggestions and he also set up plum island but i could find no official documents that made that connection. but it certainly is reasonable speculation.
good question. >> during the 1960's there were people in this country trying to confront the justice department to say we had a lot of war criminals why don't you find them and put them on trial or deport them to jurisdictions in to be dealt with? the justice department said the don't have any besides you who are asking the question are leftist and communist but they did have an office to address the issues in favor the nazi war criminals. did you come across any research? >> the number of individuals from the state department which was important part
because it was the organization that would have to give the visa there was a couple individuals who was outraged by this program but quickly accused of being a communist and moved out of the state department. to answer the second part why rudolf was investigated by the justice department was low and behold struck the '60s and '70s with jewish organizations in order to have the justice department to look into this. a special unit was created only in the 1980's. >> if nazi scientists were
brought here how did they justify the work they we're doing? and did they show any remorse? >> a great question. the first part is no. remember, not even a sliver of accountability. they always deny they were a part of that. even though they started to talk about what went on very quickly became what they did. not me. that was always always always the position. with remorse there was only one and nazi a physician of all that and looked at who showed in the resource
called dr. fisher after the nuremberg trials after he heard gruesome testimony by survivors he turned to one of the intelligence officers and said just hang me now. that was it. >> another notorious person was missing glove. even issues that are at stake from some of the experiments. does your book touched on that at all? >> i've read about that in area 51 but not "operation paperclip." as far as we know but the
information you taco is extremely important. there is said to part u.s. air force that used data from the concentration camp you see the credits in the footnotes one of them was sending notes to the other for the u.s. air force manual from his prison cell. >> meetings the responsibility of the nazis and the americans made it happen, is there anything
about the approval of the program? >> here we are on president's day and i left that out. [laughter] >> "operation paperclip" was classified military program but it had a benign public face. the joint chiefs knew that if you had a poor its of 1600 german scientist running around someone would catch on this is going on. they promulgated the myth. >> that truman thought? >> i a don't believe neither truman nor eisenhower really had access to the real dossier. as president day would not have even asked to know and certainly it would have been kept from them. they approved the program as it was sold to them from my
understanding. >> this is fascinating and important. had i not stumbled upon the blurb in the book passage calendar i would not have known about any of this. my question to you, with the broader context of the short attention span circus of mainstream media, what has been your experience? >> the book was published six days ago considering it is 69 years old. i give credit to my fellow readers to i think are interesting educated bunch of people in america and really just want to read.
it is why i write books that are obscure and secret but ultimately they find readers which i think is remarkable. >> is there any significance to the navy operation was given? >> great question. you have the same thing going on in germany where the intelligence officers are tasked to interview the scientist to find out about them. it needed to be kept secret so a system was devised where very discreetly a paper clip is placed on top of the file is a certain position that this is the important files somebody needed to look at meeting an
individual who was pro program. >> maybe i missed it, but does this program have the preface or just to collect random scientist? was the major objectives and was there one person? you mentioned general louks. >> the nazis almost one of more. there was a point where the of weaponry was so much further along than ours was, hitler called it wonder what bin. there was this idea that as we were behind the curve as
the military. as the war was ending that was the plush we have to grab the science for our own weaponry. one of the most interesting conclusions i came to reporting a the book is the cold war began in the last month of world war ii. >> coming forward into to day like scientists are now at monsanto of fluoride. hundreds of people ask me to ask you. fluoride. it is in overwater but it came from the nazi scientist. >> fascinating question. the not the scientists program was he eventually boiled up into another element of department of
defense office of research and engineering. that became the defense advanced research project agency which is the subject of my next book. [laughter] shameless plug. >> you say the russians returned the scientists back to germany. was there a reason for that? >> they could not stand the german scientist. i never thought of that. that is an interesting question. but the fascinating part this california program was operation dry again return. we would scoop up anyone who had been in the soviet union working on the weapons program to use them as intelligence. >> is it true there was a
front man but actually it and other ncaa. >> i right about that at length and was the head of the soviet program on the soviet union intelligence program and became a major player in all of this. sadly. his story is interwoven into "operation paperclip" not part of it but was at camp king with his team of the s.s. officers led by army intelligence and then later cia. so the soviet bloc spies who were tossed into the slammer and subjected to the
enhanced to eric eppley dash interrogation programs are actually caught in the web of. >> can you speculate the release of the new information might have faced on inquiries? >> i really believe that as more gets revealed when people are interested it creates the bigger web of information. hopefully by reporting just the tip of the iceberg, one of the things that i mentioned on the radio show is how otto ambros was hitler's favorite chemist convicted war criminal came to the u.s. with the department of energy contract three times in the 1960's. well i could not get any
information declassified what otto ambros was doing and his program but neither could president ronald reagan. i thought otto ambros had to come to the united states as a convicted nazi war criminal so i freedom of information act request about his travel who he came here and who he was sponsored by and that was lost or classified. it probably is not. but i bet some curious journalists in the future will. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
>> what we are told both the students and as a nation in terms of popular imagination is that there's all kinds of sit-ins and marches and demonstrations that occurred but they are really done by these famous iconic people. basically as rosa parks who just was so tired as she refused to get up from the bus in montgomery alabama and sparked the bus boycott and basically a young preacher who the president referred to during the election as this young peak -- preacher from georgette which is dr. martin luther king jr. that leads the masses of african-americans from racial oppression so this notion that rosa sat and